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Cellular microRNA let-7c inhibits M1 protein expression of the H1N1 influenza A virus in infected human lung epithelial cells


Cellular microRNA let-7c inhibits M1 protein expression of the H1N1 influenza A virus in infected human lung epithelial cells



Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 16(10): 2539-2546



ISSN/ISBN: 1582-1838

PMID: 22452878

DOI: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2012.01572.x

The influenza virus (IV) triggers a series of signalling events inside host cells and induces complex cellular responses. Studies have suggested that host factors play an essential role in IV replication. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent a class of small non-coding RNAs that target mRNAs, triggering either translation repression or RNA degradation. Emerging research suggests that host-derived cellular miRNAs are involved in mediating the host-IV interaction. Using miRNA microarrays, we identified several miRNAs aberrantly expressed in IV-infected human lung epithelial cells (A549). Specifically, miR-let-7c was highly up-regulated in IV-infected A549 cells. PITA and miRanda database screening indicated that the let-7c seed sequence is a perfect complementary sequence match to the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of viral gene M1 (+) cRNA, but not to PB2 and PA. As detected by a luciferase reporter system, let-7c directly targeted the 3'-UTR of M1 (+) cRNA, but not PB2 and PA. To experimentally identify the function of cellular let-7c, precursor let-7c was transfected into A549 cells. Let-7c down-regulated IV M1 expression at both the (+) cRNA and protein levels. Furthermore, transfection with a let-7c inhibitor enhanced the expression of M1. Therefore, let-7c may reduce IV replication by degrading M1 (+) cRNA. This is the first report indicating that cellular miRNA regulates IV replication through the degradation of viral gene (+) cRNA by matching the 3'-UTR of the viral cRNA. These findings suggest that let-7c plays a role in protecting host cells from the virus in addition to its known cellular functions.

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